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How holiday cards help us cope with a not-so-merry year, according to a professor of comedy


January 3, 2021

(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)

Matthew McMahan, Emerson College

(THE CONVERSATION) The first Christmas card was, perhaps predictably, one of good cheer. The concept is commonly credited to Sir Henry Cole, the founder of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

To spare himself the stress of responding to the all-too-many Christmas letters he received from friends, Cole commissioned an artist to create 1,000 engraved holiday cards in 1843. Featuring a prosperous family toasting the holidays, the image was fl...

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